NEW DELHI, December 24 – Indian police on Friday raided the homes of the chief organiser of the New Delhi Commonwealth Games, Suresh Kalmadi, as part of a probe into graft allegations that surrounded the event.A spokesperson from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said police had conducted searches at Kalmadi’s residences in the capital and the western town of Pune, and at the home of his personal secretary Manoj Bhore.
The Games, which were held in Delhi in October, were hit by claims of massive financial irregularities as the budget ballooned to an estimated six billion dollars.
The CBI spokesperson said a top police official had written to the government earlier this month requesting Kalmadi’s removal from the chairmanship of the Games organising committee on the grounds that he was obstructing the investigation.
Kalmadi, who took much of the international criticism about unfinished facilities and poor planning, quit as secretary to India’s ruling Congress party in November.
The CBI raided the homes of other top committee officials in November and arrested the sacked treasurer, M. Jayachandran, the third official to be accused of forgery and cheating over the awarding of Games-related contracts.
Police have charged two other former Games officials over alleged corruption.
Companies contracted to provide sports surfaces, training equipment and landscaping for the Games were also raided by tax inspectors in October.
The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) national watchdog has received complaints alleging up to 1.8 billion dollars of Games money was misappropriated.
A CVC report into the Games has confirmed the use of poor-quality materials and massive cost overruns on construction projects.
A defiant Kalmadi brushed off corruption allegations, telling reporters in November: "I have not done anything wrong, even in a single thing. I welcome the investigations and will answer all queries."
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh set up a panel after the Games concluded to investigate graft claims and two other government bodies are also running separate probes.